Virtuoso David Russell to Headline Guitar Festival

Event Offers Chances to Hear Rising Stars as Well as Established Artists

March 10, 2009

Eighteen rising stars from the world of classical guitar will join virtuoso David Russell for the 8th Annual Texas Guitar Competition and Festival March 12-14, at the University of Texas at Dallas Conference Center Auditorium.

The festival schedule offers audiences multiple chances to experience today’s standard in classical guitar, as well as what’s next for the genre. Events include:

  • Master Class I with David Russell, Thursday, March 12, 7:30 p.m., Auditors – $10.
  • Competition Finals, Friday, March 13, 8 p.m., Free.
  • Concert by Gonzalo Molano, Saturday, March 14, 4 p.m., Free.
  • Master Class II with David Russell, Friday, March 13, 3 p.m., Auditors – $10.
  • Concert by David Russell, Saturday, March 14, 8 p.m., $25.

Pardon Our Progress

• Directions to the Concert

Legendary and internationally known guitarist David Russell has earned a variety of awards and honors throughout his career. In 1997, he was made a Fellow of London’s Royal Academy of Music. In 2003, the Conservatory of the Balearics awarded him its Medal of Honor. His CD Aire Latino won a Grammy Award in 2004 for the best instrumental soloist in classical music category.

“David Russell is one of the best solo classical guitar players in the world today,” said Russell Cleveland, acoustic guitar aficionado and chair of the UT Dallas Guitar Board.

Gonzalo Molano’s laureate concert also anchors the festival; he took top honors at the First Texas Guitar Competition in 2001. Winner of numerous other awards, Molano has performed as a soloist with the Orquesta Nacional de Colombia, the Arizona Choir, the Arizona Symphony and several chamber music ensembles including the Arizona Contemporary Ensemble.

Competition begins Thursday with closed semi-final performances; the field will narrow to four contestants at the Friday night finals. Winners will split a $6,000 prize when the results are announced during intermission at the Russell concert Saturday evening.

Festival Origins

The idea for the festival began when Associate Dean for the Arts Kathryn Evans and Dr. Enric Madriguera judged a guitar competition in Rust, Austria, in 2000.

“It was truly one of those grand plans conceived on a cocktail napkin,” said Evans. “Dr. Madriguera and I took a look at the International Guitar Festival Rust and said, ‘We can do that.’”

“The first year, we sent out the call for entries and hoped to get a few contestants from outside Texas. Much to our surprise, we got several contestants from outside the U.S.”

The festival has steadily grown since then and parallels the growth of the University’s Guitar Studies program, which began in the 2004-05 academic year.

“Every year our guitar competition gets better and better, thanks in part to participation from more international players,” said Cleveland.

Madriguera, who both plays and judges classical guitar on the international circuit, agrees.

“We are now at a truly international level of competition,” said Madriguera. “I judged for the Rust festival again in 2008, as well as the Guitar Foundation of America, and we have some of the same international level contestants.

The 8th Annual Guitar Competition and Festival is supported by the Renaissance Capital Group, Savarez Strings of France and the Carl J. Thomsen Fund for Student Enrichment.

Tickets for David Russell events are available online at, via phone at (972) 883-2552 or in person at the UT Dallas Box Office. Master class tickets are available at the door.

More Information: School of Arts and Humanities, UT Dallas,
Media Contact: Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, 972-883-4329, [email protected]

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Classical guitarist David Russell

David Russell is regarded as one of the best living solo classical guitar players. He will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. (Photo by Javier Herranz)


Classical guitarist Gonzalo Molano

Gonzalo Molano’s laureate concert also anchors the festival; he took top honors at the First Texas Guitar Competition in 2001. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

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January 19, 2019